The Pageant of Ixworth Abbey

Pageant type

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Place: Grounds of Ixworth Abbey (Ixworth) (Ixworth, Suffolk, England)

Year: 1921

Indoors/outdoors: Outdoors

Number of performances: 2


16–17 June 1921

[One performance was staged each day, in the afternoon].

Name of pageant master and other named staff

  • Author and Pageant Master: Bergerac, Bernice de

Names of executive committee or equivalent


Names of script-writer(s) and other credited author(s)

  • Bergerac, Bernice de

Names of composers


Numbers of performers


Financial information


Object of any funds raised


Linked occasion


Audience information

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest


Associated events


Pageant outline

Episode I. The Druid’s Sacrifice, 300AD

Druids prepare to sacrifice a girl but she is freed by Paul, a Christian, who proceeds to teach the druids the error of their ways.

Episode II. The Hundred Court of Blackburne, 600AD

Saxons quarrel over the administration of justice; they are assailed and chased away by Norsemen. The Norsemen celebrate and drink mead before the Saxons return and defeat them.

Episode III. The Founding of the Priory, AD 1100AD

Gilbert de Blount returns from the crusades to greet his family.

Interlude. The Monk’s Dream.

Episode IV. The Building of the Church, AD 1470.

Thomas Vyal and the prior prepare plans for the church. A procession of children passes by.

Interlude. The Passing of Wolsey.

Episode V. The Dissolution of the Priory, AD 1537.

Monks with fishing rods come down to the grove. A beggar is given cakes and ale. A messenger announces the Dissolution of the religious houses. Henry VIII and Cromwell arrive with soldiers and force the monks out. A beggar steals a cup and is resoundingly thrashed.

Episode VI. The Visit of Elizabeth, 1595 AD.

Squire and Dame Coddington receive Elizabeth and her court. A masque is performed.

Procession of Episodes.

Key historical figures mentioned

  • Wolsey, Thomas (1470/71–1530) royal minister, archbishop of York, and cardinal
  • Cromwell, Thomas, earl of Essex (b. in or before 1485, d. 1540) royal minister
  • Henry VIII (1491–1547) king of England and Ireland
  • Elizabeth I (1533–1603) queen of England and Ireland

Musical production


Newspaper coverage of pageant

Bury Free Press

Book of words

Bergerac, Bernice de. The Pageant of Ixworth Abbey. [Bury St Edmunds], 1921.

Other primary published materials


References in secondary literature


Archival holdings connected to pageant

  • Copy of Book of Words in the British Library

Sources used in preparation of pageant



The Pageant Master (or Mistress) of the pageant was Bernice de Bergerac, late of the Theatre Anglais, Paris, and the Adelphi and Garrick in London. She had previously written or acted as pageant master for the Shakespearian Tercentenary Pageant at Wadham College, Oxford (1916), the Oxford Pageant of Victory (1919), and the Missionary Pageant, Alcester (1920).

The Ixworth Pageant told the story of the abbey from its pre-Christian days through to the visit of Elizabeth I after its dissolution during the reformation.


How to cite this entry

Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘The Pageant of Ixworth Abbey’, The Redress of the Past,